The First 10 Things To Do After You Get Engaged
It’s no surprise that many proposals take place between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day. ‘Tis definitely the season, so if you’re one of the lucky ones to get engaged this holiday season, take a deep breath – wedding planning is not as hard as you might think. The earlier you start, the more time you have to spread out the whole process, which makes it a hundred times less stressful. Here are the first 10 things you should do:
1. While it might sound obvious, in the flutter of excitement don’t forget to announce your engagement.
Everyone might joke about how nothing is official until it’s "Facebook official" -- but be wary of assuming that everyone you care about is following you on social media! Deciding to get married is an important milestone and the start of a new life together. Make it personal and take the time to call or email your closest friends and family. It might sound like something so small but it will not go unnoticed or unappreciated.
2. Look at your finances and put together a reasonable budget.
Yes, like most weddings, you will probably end up over-budget, but this is a good place to start. When I first started planning my wedding, I had no idea of how much things would cost. Fortunately for you, Wedding Spot can help with this. With Wedding Spot, you can build out your wedding day and get starting prices for rental fees, equipment, and food and beverage, which will cover approximately 70 percent of your overall wedding budget.
3. Book your venue.
The most popular venues get snatched up a year in advance so start looking early. Each venue has its own set of restrictions, amenities, options, and services available. Make sure you carve out some time to do your research so you don’t drive two hours to a venue that cannot fit your guest list! Use Wedding Spot to easily search and price out weddings venues and get all the information that you need in one place.
4. Say yes to the dress.
Of course you can always buy a discounted dress off the rack, but most wedding dresses are made to order. Between choosing a style, having it made, and then planning for alternations, you should give yourself at least six months to get your perfectly fitted dress.
5. Lock down a photographer.
As with venues, popular photographers are always in high demand. If you know who you want, let them know as soon as you’ve set a date -- waiting too long could mean that you will end up working with their assistant or are unable to book them at all. If you’re not quite sure where to start, ask family and friends for recommendations and then take a good look at the photographer’s portfolio to get a sense of their work and style.
6. Take care of the food.
This is the fun part of wedding planning -- tasting the food! Make sure you do the tastings and get a good feel for the caterer’s execution abilities. Yelp is also a great place for discovering the best options since you can read plenty of reviews for each vendor of interest. This is one of the easier elements to take care of because there are so many choices, and many of the larger catering companies can work more than one event per night.
7. Put together a guest list and send out a “Save the Date”.
You want to make sure your loved ones are able to make it to your special day so let them know ahead of time. Save the dates can be traditional or they can be fun and different. Some people may send an email while others might spend some more time and put together a cute video.
8. Think about who will be in your wedding party.
This sort of feels like asking someone to go to the prom with you. But it is a big question (and a big task) so I think it is always nice to ask in-person. Start thinking about who you want your Maid of Honor and Best Man to be. At the end of the day, these individuals are the ones making those important speeches that will bring laughter (and tears) to the room. On that note, it’s probably a good idea to set some ground rules so they won’t embarrass you too much.
9. Set the color scheme and pick your florist.
Flowers…most of us don't know anything about flowers but there is plenty of inspiration online. Take a look on Pinterest for wedding color themes and visit your venue to get a sense of what will work. The time of the year might make a difference too as you may want to go for fall colors for an October wedding, for example.
10. Finally, send out those invitations!
Before I planned my own wedding, I didn't know there could be so many different pieces that go into a wedding invitation. The key here is not to get overwhelmed by all the options. Try to find a store that can spend some time with you to understand what you’re looking for. A good salesperson will suggest invitations that fit your style rather than just pointing you to a shelf with a stack of books. Then, be careful when sending out the invitations since bows and ribbons can make the envelope unusually shaped and therefore cost more than a standard letter. If you are putting postage on the invitations yourself, make sure to confirm the right postage amount with your local post office so you don't get a bunch of returned invitations that never made it to your guests!
This might sound like a lot of moving parts. And it is. Don’t get me wrong -- weddings are not easy to plan. But if you give yourself enough time, and think carefully about what you want and how much you can spend, I promise you’ll be fine. This is, after all, supposed to be a joyous and celebratory occasion so don’t forget to have fun with it!